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A Senior Servant
Photo: Silvia Cosimini
Is it possible to live alone, yet not have a constant overwhelming sense of loneliness? I think so.

In the first church I pastored, the average member was 83 years old. Most of them lived alone, having said goodbye for now to their spouses. Yet they lived fulfilling lives because they found meaning through a close friendship with God and serving others.

If you’re living alone and lonely, I’m sorry. I’m sorry if your spouse has died. I’m sorry if he or she is too ill to live with you and must be cared for somewhere else. Yet I believe there’s help for your loneliness.

First, remember that you’re never truly alone. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities….” Jesus is touched by your loneliness. At night when your pillow is wet with tears, He’s touched. When you go to church or a social event and miss having someone by your side, He’s touched. He understands because He knows what it’s like to feel lonely.

Second, your loneliness will be lifted as you serve others. Maybe the last thing you feel like doing is putting aside your loneliness to help someone else. But I guarantee you, doing so will lift your loneliness load.

An Amazing 84-Year-Old Woman

I know an amazing 84-year-old woman named Dorothy. Her husband of fifty-four years died and she now lives alone. When I asked her what she does to keep from being lonely she said, “For one thing, I volunteer at the hospital two days a week. Last year I put in nearly 500 hours working there. Also, my home is always open to my grandchildren and their friends when they’re hungry or need a place to stay. I love having young life around the house. I love the laughter.” She also bakes and shares delicious homemade bread. She gardens and shares her produce. She drives another senior to church and cooks for church funeral dinners. She keeps track of other women living alone in her neighborhood through frequent phone calls and visits. When she hears of someone who’s sick, she sends them a card.

When I asked what difference God makes in her loneliness she answered, “God is my constant companion. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing during the day--my mind often turns to Him. I read my Bible and pray through my prayer list every day. It takes thirty minutes to get through all the names I have written.” Since Dorothy suffers from macular degeneration, she told me, “Every morning when I wake up and open my eyes I say, ‘Thank you Lord that I can still see.’ Each day I wake up with a spirit of gratitude. I thank Him daily for all that I have.”

What a great example Dorothy is! She had a choice: to sit at home alone in her loneliness, or to open her heart to God and others--to make a difference. The same choice is yours.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®.

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